Throughout the 2016/17 football season I will be contributing to the Wrexham AFC matchday programme. I will be penning a feature called Memory Match, a look back at classic Wrexham games from the past that I will share in this blog over the coming months.
Durham City v Wrexham
League Division Three (Northern Section)
Durham City: Hugall, Robson, Gallagher, Woodhouse, Hopkins, Robson, Best, Stokoe, Elliott, Bertram, Barker
Goalscorers: Bertram (3), Elliott
Wrexham: Godding, Jones, Edwards, Regan, Matthews, Savage, Bird, Cotton, Jackson, Toms, Williams
Goalscorers: Jackson, Toms, Matthews (pen)
Right-back Alf Jones made the first of his 503 League appearances in the season opener – a convincing 4-0 home win against Ashington. After winning our first three matches and being held by Walsall, we found ourselves sitting pretty at the top of the table. However, a run of only one victory in eleven matches soon killed off any title-chasing ambitions we may have harboured and a season of sporadic form ensued.
After beating Barrow at the end of November, our next League victory didn’t come until mid-March when Lincoln City lost 2-1 at the Racecourse. During this barren spell we fell as low as 17th in the newly expanded 202-team League and as the season drew to a close we were languishing in 15th position.
The season concluded with a double-header against Durham City. Before meeting at the Racecourse on the final day of the season, the two teams clashed at Holiday Park for the first time. Durham had previously entertained Wrexham at their former home of Kepier Haughs.
To write a match report of this game is quite a task when my only source of reference is a piece of journalism that was written at a time when newspapers used the English language in a rather different way to what we are used to today. For example, when learning about an early Durham attack the reader has to paint their own picture out of the following clunky language: “The City were immediately on the offensive and a handling offense by [George] Savage just outside the penalty area brought danger to the Welsh citadel, but the ball was got away.”
Anyway, as far as I can decipher the first goal was scored by Durham after half an hour when Billy Bertram received a pass from Bobby Best and proceeded to beat George Godding with ease. With half-time fast approaching Jackson was in the right place at the right time to score an opportunist effort from close range. Unfortunately, there was still time before the interval for Bertram to score his second and put Durham back in the driving seat.
It seems that the match was finely balanced with both teams playing exciting and attacking football. This resulted in a flurry of second half goals that began when Tom Elliott connected with a Billy Barker cross to increase Durham’s advantage. Wrexham displayed fighting qualities though and pulled one back immediately through Bill Toms. We were not going down without a fight.
However, Durham’s fourth goal and Bertram’s hat-trick arrived just a couple of minutes later, but still we fought on. Indeed, we were actually awarded a penalty late-on that Billy Matthews converted past the despairing dive of Jimmy Hugall. We were even close to snatching a deserved equaliser, but man-of-the-match Toms just missed the mark with a cross-shot that flashed across the face of the goal.
We were unfortunate to lose by the odd goal in seven.
Just seven days later the teams played out a 0-0 draw at the Racecourse to conclude a disappointing term. Wrexham finished in 16th spot while Durham finished just one point and one place above us.
Wrexham lifted the Welsh Cup once again after beating Merthyr Tydfil 1-0 at the replay at the Racecourse. Billy Cotton scored the winning goal. They drew the first match 2-2 at Pontypridd.
They didn’t fare as well in the FA Cup. Despite beating Port Vale 5-1 at home they lost their second round clash at Accrington Stanley by the only goal of the game.